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The Differences Between Asphalt & Bitumen You Should Know

Asphalt and bitumen are two words that are often used interchangeably, but they do have differences. Asphalt is a black mixture of natural asphalt or asphaltite rock, sand, gravel, and water. Bitumen is also an asphalt product with tar mixed in to improve its strength.

This blog post will outline the key differences between asphalt and bitumen so you can decide which one is best for your needs.

1) Lifespan – Asphalt vs. Bitumen

The lifespan of asphalt varies widely depending on the quality and maintenance provided to the surface. However, on average, we can expect an asphalt road to last between 15-20 years and 25+ years if well maintained throughout its lifetime.

Bitumen has a much shorter life span than asphalt. Bitumen roads typically need to be replaced after only five years, and asphalt must be laid over the top before it can be used again.

2) Durability – Asphalt vs. Bitumen

An asphalt road can be used in all weather conditions, while bitumen roads are typically only used in milder climates.

Asphalt is a very durable substance and will last for a couple of decades with proper maintenance. Bitumen, however, has been known to crack if not properly maintained during the winter months when it freezes or gets too hot from direct sunlight. As asphalt is a more robust material, it can handle changes in weather conditions better than bitumen.

3) Skid Resistance and Noise Reduction – Asphalt vs. Bitumen

Due to asphalt’s superior skid resistance properties, asphalt roads are much safer than bitumen roads. The asphalt can be applied at a much higher temperature than bitumen and can thus maintain skid resistance through the winter months, whereas bitumen cannot.

Additionally, asphalt roads are also quieter than their bitumen counterparts. This is why asphalt is a good choice for residential areas and communities, as asphalt roads will not disrupt your sleep.

4) Maintenance – Asphalt vs. Bitumen

Bitumen roads are much more challenging to maintain than asphalt roads. This is because asphalt roads require resurfacing far less frequently, which saves you time and money in the long run.

5) Better Fuel Economy – Asphalt vs. Bitumen

As asphalt is much smoother than bitumen, asphalt roads provide better fuel economy for vehicles. This means that your car will run more smoothly and efficiently on asphalt roads, thus getting you where you need to go faster while using less gas in the process.

6) Installation – Asphalt vs. Bitumen

Although asphalt is more expensive to install initially, asphalt roads last much longer than bitumen. Asphalt doesn’t require resurfacing nearly as often, which saves you money in the long run by reducing road maintenance costs and expenses for asphalt replacement materials down the line.

If you require any more information about paving your driveway or parking lot, or whether asphalt installation will be cost-effective for your requirements, let our experts help you. For a free estimate, please contact Surface Solutions in Cambridge, MD. Our friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions about asphalt paving or bitumen you may have.